What college path is right for me? Junior college to a four year university

Connie Chan, Staff Reporter

When your high school career starts coming to an end, you are left with the inevitable decision of where you are going to be in life the upcoming year. Sometimes the closer graduation comes, the more lost you feel. That is okay because you are not alone. Some have the pressure to go to “that” university and some are expected to not get an education after high school at all. If you want to continue your education after high school and hope to achieve a bachelor’s degree or higher but you’re not sure if going directly to a four year university is right for you, going to a junior college then transferring to a university may be the path for you.

Don’t fear the reputation of junior colleges; there are many benefits in going to a junior college first and then transferring to a university. One important thing to consider is cost. Attending a junior college for your general education is far less expensive than at a university. According to The College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees of a junior college for in-district students is $3,347 a year. While the average cost of tuition and fees of a four year university is $9,139 for in-state students, $22,958 for out-of-state students and $31,231 for private universities.

Junior college is not just easier on your pocket but you can still have the full college experience. Some junior colleges offer housing and you can meet new people in the dorms. They also have the same expectations of you at a junior college than they do at a four year university. West High alumni and current Las Positas student Andrea Valdez said, “Junior college is amazing! All the classes taken help the students with resources that will motivate them to become a better student for the years to come. Another thing is everyone here is here by their choice. No one forces you to be in class. It’s not like they’ll call home if you miss class. In saying that, there is sense of much more maturity when talking to people here.”

Junior college is not the path for everyone, but it is a realistic option if you do not have the financial support to go to a four year university and hope to get a bachelor’s degree in the future. Planning your future can be stressful, but no matter what, college is what you make out of it.


  • Less expensive
  • Can get a Bachelor’s degree if you transfer to a university
  • Make life-long relationships
  • Make your own schedule
  • What you do is your responsibility
  • Smaller classes depending on course
  • Allows more time to figure out what your interest of study is
  • Accessibility of professors


  • More limited in what you study
  • Must take prerequisite courses in order to transfer
  • Learning environment is less motivated
  • Lack of availability of classes